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Our undergraduate research group is broadly focused on the intersection of chemical-mechanical mechanisms within sliding interfaces. Current themes cover: competing surface reactions; multifunctional tribofilms; impact of drug-delivery nanomaterials on joint sliding; cartilage repair.

Interested in more information?

Contact Dr. Meagan Elinski at:

Hope College Department Page

Schaap Science Center 2126 | 35 E 12th St | Holland, MI 49423

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Surface chemistry and tribology, the study of surfaces in relative motion ("tribos" is Greek for rubbing):

Surface forces, intermolecular interactions, and chemical reactions influence the sliding behavior of surfaces in relative motion. This close chemical-mechanical interdependency is an exciting, multidisciplinary area of research. It relies on principles from chemistry, mechanochemistry, materials science, engineering, and physics, and spans sectors of society from energy conservation to healthcare.


Nanoparticles are promising candidates as direct therapeutics and delivery systems for osteoarthritis treatments, primarily via intraarticular injection, but little is known about the impact on sliding behavior for a soft material surface like cartilage that would be encountered in a joint. We found that when comparing surface chemistry, concentration, and degree of aggregation, both nanoparticle surface chemistry and nanoparticle solution viscosity modulate the frictional properties of a cartilage-mimicking hydrogel.


PUNC (Primarily Undergraduate Nanomaterials Cooperative):

The Elinski Group is a member of PUNC, an organization bringing together undergraduate research groups for nanomaterials research. Learn more about PUNC on the website here, and in their publication!

Home: Research


We use a suite of instruments for measuring surface forces and characterizing surface properties:

atomic force microscopy (AFM)

Bruker Dimension Icon​: imaging modes - contact, tapping, friction force, quantitative nanomechanical mapping, conductive probe, magnetic force

confocal Raman microspectroscopy

HORIBA Xplora Plus​: 5x, 10x, and 100x objectives; 532 nm and 785 nm lasers; motorized stage for 2D and 3D mapping


TA Instruments DHR 20 (Discovery Hybrid Rheometer)​: with tribology adapter

scanning electron microscopy (SEM)

Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR)

Thermo Scientific Nicolet iS50 FTIR Spectrometer​: with ATR accessory (attenuated total reflectance)

Home: Publications
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